Joseph Wilson, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist, Sports Injury Therapist & Yoga Therapist In-Training
You probably need more sleep. We all do. Between the barrage of amazing electronic entertainment devices and the demands of our mortgage-driven lifestyles, we are all not getting enough sleep, and when we do, we are doing it really, really poorly.
Here are three things you can do to get more out of your sleep.
1. Train yourself to wear an eye-mask that simulates sleeping in utter darkness.
As much as I’d like to believe you will stop texting in bed, toss your blinky digital alarm clock out the window, and paint your windows black, it is more realistic to think you will go to the dollar store and buy a soft, puffy eye mask and train yourself to get used to wearing it while you sleep.
Why? Something about our brainwaves going into deeper, slower oscillations in absolute darkness. Our eyes can sense light even when they are closed, and we have these deep parts of our brain that are influenced by them from back in the day when we rose with the sunrise and slowed down with the sunset. Try it, you’ll like it.
2. Arrange your sleep into 90-minute cycles.
Apparently we fall into and come out of deep sleep in 90-minute cycles. Wake up at the end of one cycle and you’ll feel refreshed. Wake up in the middle of a cycle, and you’ll feel groggy all day. Ever woken up after just a few short hours of sleep feeling abnormally rested and refreshed? Ever woken up after sleeping in and went through the day wondering why you feel like there isn’t enough coffee on earth to keep you going? Yeah, like that.
Oh, you will need to add a 15-minute ramp-down time to actually fall asleep before your first cycle starts, so If you have to wake up at 6:00 am, go to sleep at 11:45 pm. 15 minutes to fall asleep followed by four 90-minute cycles. Get up immediately and Ah! Go get ‘em tiger!
If you look up from your computer and see that it is 12:30 am, it is better to stay up until 1:15 and then go to sleep. 15 minutes to fall asleep, then three 90-minute blocks between 1:30 and 6:00 am. Staying up until the start of the next cycle ensures that you don’t wake up in the middle of one to face the day in full-on zombie mode.
Don’t take my word for it, try it out yourself. Avoid operating heavy machinery on your interrupted sleep cycle day.
3. Stop hitting snooze!
Why? See pointer (2) above. You essentially keep falling asleep and getting jolted out of your body trying to enter into its next sleep cycle, over, and over again. You are setting yourself up for a serious caffeine addiction (plus sugar, cream, flavor-syrup pumps and other calorie rich additions) as your body seeks out energy to fight the mid-day mind-fog.
You are torturing yourself, and there really is no need to do so. You, and the people around you, deserve to see you act and be at your best.
Remember these wise words: “Rest is a weapon.” ~ Jason Bourne, or Yoda, …probably not Gandhi.